If you have a complaint made against you

Having a complaint made against you can be a worrying or concerning event. You will be notified of a complaint in writing and given opportunities to respond.

Investigation process

The Registrar will be asked to report to the Board about the complaint. An investigator will write to you to advise you of the complaint. As part of the investigation, the investigator will:

  • provide full details of the complaint to you
  • write to you requesting your response to the complaint and any further information you can provide.
  • seek additional/supporting information and/or seek clarification of information from both you and the complainant
  • seek information from other parties involved and from witnesses

The investigator may also have an independent person provide an expert assessment of the matter.

You can read more detail about the complaint investigation process and the parties involved in this two-page guidance document.

Complaints to the Building Practitioners Board: A quick guide

This guide will assist you through the complaint process to help you understand what to expect.

LBP Complaint Process

 

Complaint hearings

If the Board decides to proceed to consider a matter, they must hold a hearing. This hearing can be held on the papers in some cases. The purpose of the hearing is to further investigate and determine if a disciplinary offence has been committed by the licensed building practitioner. If the Board decides it has then they will also consider the appropriate penalty, if any costs should be imposed, and whether the matters should be published.

Hearings are a formal procedure. The Board will try to hold the hearing at the main center closest to where you live. You will be advised of the date and time for this and will be asked if you wish to attend. Hearings are usually held in public. The complainant is entitled to attend the hearing. The Board may call witnesses to assist with the investigation. You are entitled to call witnesses or have a legal representative or support person to attend. If you are considering engaging a lawyer, consider that they will likely require some time to become familiar with the complaint before a hearing.

If you require an adjournment to the time and date that have been set for the hearing, please make a request via the Board Officer, in writing stating your reasons with supporting documents. It is advised that this request is made as soon as can reasonably be expected. If a hearing is adjourned once it has been set down, the Board may reserve the right to consider the costs from the adjournment when considering the costs to be applied to an upheld decision.

Possible outcomes

If the Board finds that a disciplinary offence was not committed, the matter ends there. However, if the Board upholds a complaint about an LBP it can:

  • suspend or cancel that person’s licence
  • restrict the kind of work they can do
  • fine the practitioner up to $10,000
  • order the practitioner to do training
  • formally reprimand the person, and/or
  • order the practitioner to pay costs.

Any disciplinary action the Board takes will be recorded on the public register of LBPs for three years or until their licence is cancelled. That information will be available to anyone who searches the register.

The Board can publicly announce the action in any other way it sees fit, such as a press release.

The Board cannot order an LBP to compensate someone or to remedy the situation (such as to fix the work).

Fines and costs

If the Board orders an LBP to pay fines and/or costs related to a disciplinary proceeding, the LBP has 60 days from the date of the decision to pay those fines or costs.

If an LBP fails to pay within that period, the Board can suspend or cancel that LBP's license for failure to pay those fines or costs.

Appeals to the District Court

You can appeal to the District Court if you don’t agree with the Board’s decision about a disciplinary penalty. The right to appeal a decision of the Board is provided for under section 330(2) of the Building Act. It is important to note that:

  • An appeal is an appeal of a decision of the Board to take action under section 318 of the Act (Disciplinary Penalties).
  • Appeals are made to the District Court.
  • Appeals must be lodged within 20 working days of you receiving the decision of the Board.
  • The Notice of Appeal must be sent to the Board when you lodge it in the District Court.
  • If you wish to appeal the decision of the Board you should cite the complainant and the Registrar of Licensed Building Practitioners as the Respondents to the appeal.
  • An appeal to the District Court does not have the effect of suspending the disciplinary action taken against you. An application must be made to the District Court with your Notice of Appeal if you wish to stay the disciplinary actions. 
  • We encourage you to seek legal advice.